Public Health Consultation

Appendix F: Summary of Public Comments and Responses

This summary was prepared to address comments and questions on the public comment draft of the Public Health Consultation Respiratory Hospitalizations in Areas Surrounding the AES Greenidge Power Plant , Town of Torrey, Yates County. The public was invited to review the draft during a public comment period that ran from January 7, 2007 through February 8, 2008. No formal written comments were received. However, questions and concerns were raised by Senator Hillary Clinton's staff regarding the hospitalization rates in the six ZIP Codes evaluated by Dr. David Carpenter and reported in a local newspaper. To address this issue, NYSDOH evaluated respiratory hospitalization rates in these six ZIP Codes using the same methodology described in the Health Consultation for the ZIP Code areas most likely impacted by AES Plant emissions. We found rates of chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as well as rates of acute respiratory infections in the six ZIP Code area to be similar to those in other parts of upstate New York. Several methodological differences between the two analyses may explain why we did not see the 30% to 40% increases in hospitalizations reported by Dr. Carpenter. A detailed description of the results of our follow up analysis was included in the NYSDOH response to Senator Clinton, a copy of which is included in Appendix G of this Health Consultation.

In addition, in the public comment draft, hospitalization discharge rates listed in tables 4-7 represented crude hospitalization rates not adjusted for age. These were presented this way to allow easy comparison with other published respiratory hospitalization rates. However, the standardized rate ratios presented in the tables were adjusted for age. This led to some confusion over which set of measures to focus on, since the results differed slightly from one another. To avoid confusion, age adjusted hospitalization rates were calculated and used in the tables of the final documents. Also, we discovered that, due to a coding error, one county (Allegany) had been inadvertently left out of the comparison group while one county (Albany) was inadvertently placed into the comparison group of upstate rural counties. Correction of this error resulted in minor revisions to the expected rates; however the overall results remained unchanged. Specifically all standardized rate ratios which showed statically significant elevations remained statistically elevated while those that showed statistically significant deficits remained lower significantly lower than expected, after these minor adjustments. Rate ratios have been updated throughout the text and tables of the final document.